Former staffer at Penn State Hershey charged with health care fraud

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A former research technologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly performing flawed tests for cancer patients.

Floyd Benko, 60, of Palmyra, is charged with one count of health care fraud and two counts of false statements in health care matters.

According to the indictment, Benko did not follow Hershey’s standard operating procedures when he performed gene mutation tests for 124 advanced stage cancer patients in 2013 and 2014.

When the patients were retested, 60 had results that varied from results obtained by an outside laboratory, U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said.

The tests help physicians diagnose a particular type of cancer so treatments can be tailored to the patient.

Benko lied to hospital administrators about how he conducted the tests, and he concealed the fact that he failed to follow standard operating procedures by not preserving leftover tissue and DNA samples, Smith said.

He resigned from his position at the medical center in April 2014.

Benko  had his initial appearance in court Friday and was released on his own recognizance. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for September 14.

Penn State Hershey incurred losses totaling $102,406 as a result of the fraud, according to the indictment. Smith said the medical center reported the incident to law enforcement agencies, notified affected patients, and is cooperating with the investigation.

Anyone seeking further information about the flawed tests should contact Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s chief medical officer at 717-531-4595.

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